What is Kyphosis?

Kyphosis refers to the abnormally excessive convex kyphotic curvature of the spine as it occurs in the thoracic, cervical, and sacral regions. The condition is sometimes known as “roundback” or “hunchback” if the curve is severe. Kyphosis can lead to excessive pressure on the spine causing pain and even lead to breathing difficulties due to pressure put on the lungs.

Even though Kyphosis can occur at any age it most commonly occurs during adolescence. In most cases Kyphosis causes only a few problems and doesn’t require treatment. It can be caused by degenerative diseases such as arthritis; developmental problems, most commonly Scheuermann’s disease; osteoporosis with compression fractures of the vertebrae; Multiple myeloma or trauma.

Other causes include scoliosis (spinal curvature), muscle weakness in the upper back, slipped discs, polio, tumors, and muscular dystrophy.  Kyphosis in elderly women is known as dowager’s hump.

What are the Symptoms of Kyphosis?

Symptoms include: rounded shoulders, spine stiffness, fatigue, mild back pain, and tight hamstrings.

How is Kyphosis Treated?

Will depend on its severity and underlying causes. If a child has Scheuermann’s disease they will usually receive physical therapy, braces, or corrective surgery. If infection is present antibiotics will be given and if tumors are present surgical removal will likely be recommended. Individuals with kyphosis will also be given medication for relieving pain and advised to do yoga in order to increase flexibility and range of motion.

Last Reviewed:
October 06, 2016
Last Updated:
September 01, 2017